Summary of 11 October 2023 BOS Meeting
2024 DRAFT budget presentation…
This is my personal summary of my notes regarding the October 11, 2023, meeting of the #NewtownPA Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary.
Access the 2023 BOS Chronicle for detailed summaries of all 2023 BOS meetings plus the BOS voting record (UNOFFICIAL) for 2023.
- Proposed 2024 Budget Highlights
- Other Items of Interest
- Addition of one (1) full-time Police Officer
- Addition of four (4) full-time Firefighters
- Capital purchases for all departments
- Tax increases [3 mils total] are proposed in the Fire Protection (2 mil increase) and Debt Service funds (1 mil increase), No other tax increases are proposed. However, there is a need for more real estate taxes to pay for future critical needs (read “Calabro Blasts Tax Increase Critics”).
Below is a chart depicting the millage rates, and estimated annual revenues for nearby towns with Newtown Township’s 2023 average assessed residential value of $38,971. (* Denotes a real estate tax increase enacted in 2023):
Under the township’s proposed 2024 road program, the budget allocates $755,000 from the highway aid fund, American Rescue Fund and the General Fund to pave 2.69 miles of township roads 2024. See the table and maps below.
With 71.3 road miles and an average 20-year life, the Township would need to average 3.56 miles of road paving per year to repave each road every 20 years. For 2023 and 2024, an average of 2.6 miles of roads per year – NOT 3.6 – will have been repaved.
After the meeting – via email to Supervisors – Joseph Schiavoni, Director of Public Works, had the following to say regarding an explanation on what goes into the cost of paving:
“The average development road is 24' wide so I'll use that width for the following explanations, also the costs associated with the following explanations are based on the 2023 paving contract.
“To only mill and pave one (1) mile of road 24' wide would be $177,318.00 ($17,731.80 per 0.1 miles). This means if we have allocated $755,000.00 for paving next year (2024) then 'technically' we would be able to pave 4.25 miles of road. Note: those numbers are based on milling and paving only.
“There are two factors that inflate the cost of paving as it reflects the amount of mileage paved in a given year, one is the need for concrete work (handicap ramps, curb, c-tops), the second is the increased width of various roads. Concrete costs include:
- One (1) handicap ramp; $5,000 to $8,500
- Ten (10) foot section of curb; $945
- One (1) c-top; $1,995
“So, as an example of how concrete plays a role in inflating costs, we paved Redwood Ln,which is 0>12 miles long, in Newtown Grant this year. This particular road had four (4) handicap ramps, 70' of curb, and three (3) c-tops which accounted for an additional cost of $36,334.00.
“The other example is the width of certain roads. Let's use Lower Dolington Rd. for this. If you take the overall square yardage of Lower Dolington Rd and quantify it as a typical 24' wide road you would have paved 2.42 miles. But due to its width it only accounted for 1.22 miles of road in this year's paving contract.
“I hope this helps in explaining where and what dollar amounts go to with our yearly paving contracts.”
The 2024 budget contemplates the establishment four (4) new full-time Firefighters in order to provide paid firefighter coverage in the Township during daytime hours, seven days per week.
The additional Firefighters will be paid predominantly – but not TOTALLY! – by the funds awarded from the SAFER Grant (i.e., $1.556 million; read “Grant Ensures #NewtownPA Emergency Services Has More Firefighters to Cover Weekends and Respond Quicker”).
After year one, salary increases, step advances, and increases in costs for benefits will need to be supported by the General Fund. After the expiration of the Grant funding, the full salary and benefits of these employees will need to be supported by the General Fund (read “Calabro Speaks to Need for Future Tax Increases”).
The budget proposes a contribution to the Newtown Fire Association (NFA) of $250,000. The fund also anticipates a contribution to the Fire Capital Fund of $660,000 to set aside for future capital purchases (i.e., purchase of a new fire truck in 2 years). Refer to the 2024 Fire Staffing Memo.
There is a proposed increase of 2 mills of real estate tax to the Fire Protection Fund.
In the 2024 Budget, the Debt Service Fund will allocate an additional 1 mill of real estate tax to pay a new loan payment to support the construction phase of the DVRPC LED Streetlight Conversion Project (read “#NewtownPA BOS Agrees to Move Forward to Phase 2 of the DVRPC LED Streetlight Program”), building lighting upgrades, and the proposed pedestrian crossing signal located at Newtown Yardley Rd. and Tara Blvd (read “Pedestrian Safety Priority: Sycamore St Versus Newtown-Yardley Rd”).
The Manager's 2024 Budget Message mentions the following departmental budget requests that were reduced or eliminated in the 2024 budget to avoid the need to increase taxes to the General Fund:
- Additional Police Officers (4)
- Public Works (4 Maintenance Mechanics)
- Zoning & Code Enforcement (Director)
- Information Technology (Director)
- Human Resources (Director)
- Public Information (Director)
- Additional capital purchases and public improvement projects
In the following video, supervisor Phil Calabro speaks of the need for future tax increases that are necessary to pay for the above critical needs. He also makes a case that for $511 per YEAR in taxes (for the average homeowner), Newtown residents are getting a good deal.
I prepare detailed notes before attending BOS meetings. These notes include links to background information and other details related to the items on the agenda. See the meeting notes for this meeting embedded below or download the PDF file here.
Download the unedited time-stamped transcript of this meeting prepared by Youtube from the video: download PDF file.